Editorial: The Tulia Lynchings 7/13/01

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 7/13/01

On Sunday, July 22nd, civil rights activists, drug law reformers and others will gather in the small Texas town of Tulia to demand justice for the Tulia 46.

Who are the Tulia 46?

In this small town of 5,000 people, they represented about 12% of the town's African American population. Based solely on the word of a corrupt police officer who is widely known for his own criminal activities -- he's been fired twice, once for sexual harassment and a related attempt at insurance fraud -- the Tulia 46 were indicted for drug dealing offenses following one massive wave of arrests perpetrated by this officer working undercover, 43 of them on a single day. Most of them were black, and some of the others were dating blacks. Twenty-two are now in prison, serving insanely long sentences ranging as high as 435 years!

Tulia has its share of drug use, just like any other town -- residents say there were a few drug dealers, and everyone knew who they were. The idea, however, that a town of 5,000, whose African American residents and many others live in something most of us would consider poverty, could support 46 drug dealers, or 22 drug dealers, much less major dealers meriting 20 or 100 year prison terms, is an economic absurdity: Only an idiot or a prosecutor with an agenda could believe such a set of criminal charges could be valid.

That is why the Tulia prosecutions and incarcerations can in no way be considered legitimate criminal justice activity. Rather, it is fair to say that they differed from lynchings only by the absence of a noose or other means of execution; at least Tulia's stolen are still alive to be released.

The fact that they have not been released is itself a gross violation of human rights. Again, it is simply impossible in economic terms for such a town to have supported that number of drug dealers. Therefore, the convicted must be innocent -- most of them, anyway -- and therefore must be released immediately. Anything other than immediate release is morally equivalent to kidnapping.

That is why the perpetrators of the Tulia lynchings -- police, prosecutors, judges -- should be fired and banned forever from working in the justice system or any job giving them power over the lives of other people. They have betrayed their oaths to protect the public and seek justice, and the moral turpitude of their crime increases each day that Tulia's stolen remain confined in our nation's barbaric prisons. The jurors, perhaps, can plead gullibility, but should at least be ashamed.

Let us be clear, it is not by letter of law that this mass injustice constitutes a crime. Rather, that charge is justified on the basis of higher moral principles, principles that reach beyond legislation, to the realm of conscience. Principles that allowed people of conscience to defy federal law by helping fleeing slaves escape to freedom. Principles by which the oppressed of all nations can stand up and be heard and have wrongs redressed despite the letter of the law enacted to keep them silent.

Principles that will free Tulia's stolen and end the war on drugs.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #194, 7/13/01 Editorial: The Tulia Lynchings | Hard Feelings: Fatal Shootout in Marijuana Raid Reverberates in an Idaho County | Tulia: Two Years On, a Town Would Like to Forget, but Reformers Refuse to Go Away | HEA Campaign Still Seeking Student Victim Cases -- New York Metropolitan Area Especially Urgent | British Cannabis Decrim Momentum Continues to Build at Frantic Pace | Prospective DEA Head Tells Skeptical Students He Sees "Great Crusade," Claims Legalization Was Tried and Failed -- Mena Questions Refuse to Die | Sentencing Follies: Iowa Man Gets 27 Years for Smoking Joint With 6-Year-Old Son, Eighth Circuit Says Life for $20 Worth of Cocaine is Too Much | Annual Ditchweed Eradication Boondoggle Underway Again -- Feds Spend $13 Million on Summer Jobs Program for Midwest Students, Bored Cops | New Woody Harrelson Activism Site Focusing This Week on DEA's Attempt to Prohibit Hemp Products -- Live Chat Sunday | Urgent Action Alerts: Colombia, HEA, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, John Walters | Drug War on Trial Going to Trial Next Week | Media Scan: MotherJones.com Prison Growth Report, Twisted Badge Racial Profiling Series, Chicago Tribune on Prohibition and the Drug War | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]